June 22nd, 2015

What’s a Comic Book Worth? Try Three Million Dollars

superman-secret-origin    captain-america   thedoctor

Click the pictures to view the books in the library catalog.


The funny thing about Superman is that he almost didn’t happen. Superman opened the door to the creation of other superheroes like Captain America and Wonder Woman, who may have been created at a much later date – if at all.

In the 1930s, if you enjoyed reading adventure or science fiction or fantasy, you’re options were few: essentially pulp magazines filled with short stories by fringe authors. But then two young Jewish kids from New York, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, changed all that when they created Clark Kent, and a publisher called “DC” printed something no one had dared to attempt. “Faster than a speeding bullet. More powerful than a locomotive. Able to leap over tall buildings in a single bound.”

You see, back in the day, comic books were originally just reprints of old newspaper comic strips or “funnies.” No one thought a profit could be turned from printing comic books with all new, original material. That would mean paying artists and writers and, frankly, the newspapers were uninterested. Thus, most strips were comical cartoons for a while, until the first, true superhero hit the stands in Action Comics Issue #1 in 1938, and the reverberation would be felt in both American culture and Global culture for generations.

A copy of that original ten-cent comic was auctioned off in August of 2014 for over 3 million dollars, yes, $3,000,000. Thanks to Superman and other economic/propagandist factors surrounding World War II, the market boomed, and today people the world over instantly recognize dozens of superheroes plastered across our billboards, t-shirts, and big screens.

If you want to know more about this amazing history, I encourage you watch the authoritative History Channel documentary, “Comic Book Superheroes Unmasked”, which will be screened on Saturday June 27th at 1:00PM at the North East Branch Library. Featuring Stan Lee, Frank Miller, and Kevin Smith, this documentary explores the history of superheroes in comic books, from the first appearance of Superman to today’s morally-conflicted, violent anti-heroes. For adults, families, and teens (age 11+). This event goes hand-in-hand with CCPL’s Summer Reading theme (Every Hero Has A Story) and will highlight the recent addition of many spectacular Marvel and DC comics to our county-wide Young Adult collection. When you take a break from saving the world and flying through space, don’t forget to borrow some of these great collections from our shelves!

deadpool   godzilla   fivefists   atomicrobo

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June 15th, 2015

Taking our online test for a spin

car-522411_1280My driver’s license was earned when Red Toad was tree lined and spooky, drag racing was still possible past Craigtown and my 11 year old brother would drive a tractor to school if he missed the bus.  Back then, driver’s ed was offered to all 10th graders as a regular class, and I can only guess, forced on the teacher who drew the short straw.  As most of us had been driving something since our feet could touch the pedals, the class tended to drift away from traffic rules to the best way of jacking up your Bronco. Now with a 15 year old who thinks tailgating happens only in parking lots, it’s time for a reality check—for both of us.

And what an eye opener the MVA Practice Tests proved to be.  As the older, experienced driver, I attempted the free, online permit practice test first.  The 40 question, multiple choice test provided immediate feedback on my questionable answers.  In my defense, for questions such as the distance in feet you must keep between your car and a stopped school bus, “a bunch” was not a choice.  My son kindly pointed out I could access the Maryland Drivers Handbook right from the site if I wanted to study before retaking the test.  Failure in our house is not an option.

CCPL’s Driving-Tests.Org also has practice for CDL and motorcycle tests. For even more practice in both English and Spanish, you can go to the Maryland MVA’s online driver test tutorial. They even have apps for Android and iOS!

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